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THE 2012 Guam Youth Basketball Association (GYBA) Drug Free Youth Basketball League boys’ semifinal playoffs got underway last Saturday at the Astumbo Gymnasium in Dededo, with the U-12 Warriors taking on the Raiders.
Nerves seemed to strangle both teams, as neither was able to put up any points within the first five minutes of play.
Warriors’ big man Jason Diaz was the first to settle down, driving the lane, making the layup and ending up at the line. After missing the bonus shot, Raiders’ Mark Mandapat received an outlet pass and popped an 18-foot jumper. The first quarter ended with the Warriors extending their lead to 6-2.
Starting the second half, Raiders’ Shane Ezra fired up his team making back-to-back buckets. But the combination of a swarming Warriors defense, forcing several Raiders turnovers, and the attacking power of Jason Diaz proved too much for the improving Tamuning squad to handle. The Raiders headed into the intermission trailing the Warriors 17-6, with Diaz owning 11 of those points.
Determined not to roll over against the strong Warrior ballers, Mason Pablo took matters into his own hands, scoring all seven of his team’s points with a 15-foot jumper, two free throws and a quarter-ending three-point buzzer-beater. The Warriors played solid team-ball in the third, spreading the wealth among four of the five and ending the third quarter leading 25-13.
A couple more buckets by Diaz (game-high 18 points) and company, and only one in the final period by the Raiders, finished the game with the Warriors doubling up on the Raiders 30-15.
After the game, Warriors coach Morgan Aiken shared his game plan saying, “We had to stop No. 5 (Shane Ezra). He was the only one who could score, so we put our best defender on him, No. 45 (Hagato Tsuji), and Jason was our offense.”
Diaz, having scored three more points than the entire Raiders squad, commented, “I just had to attack the basket.”